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Reflexology, or zone therapy, is a complementary therapy, intended for use alongside conventional medical care and not as a replacement. It is the practice of stimulating nerves on the feet, hands and ears, to supposedly encourage a beneficial effect on some other parts of the body, or to try to improve general health. Reflexology is most commonly performed on the feet, moving on to the hands and/or ears where physical restraints (contraindications), such as veruccas or fractures, apply.
There is no one fixed theory to explain reflexology. All practitioners believe that areas on the foot correspond to areas of the body, and that reflexology assists the self-healing process. Some practitioners believe these zones to reflect the energy (Qi) body, and that blockages of energy in the body are reflected through "grit" or "lumps" on the foot. A therapist will apply pressure in the form of relaxing massage to these areas, in order to stimulate the corresponding area and thereby remove blockages in the energy body.
Contrary to some beliefs, reflexology does not seek to diagnose or cure medical conditions - merely imbalances in the life energy or Qi of the body. There are concerns over the efficacy of this treatment, and about the safety of using such a therapy instead of conventional medicine, which have resulted in some studies to investigate reflexology.